It’s been one week since Maryland banned smoking in its state prisons, and apparently there were no riots. The state had troopers and National Guard forces standing by in case prisoners mounted violent protests. Iowa Corrections Department spokesman Fred Scaletta says the state is way ahead of Maryland.At the Oakdale Reception Center it’s entirely tobacco-free. All the other facilities have designated outdoor smoking areas but prisoners can’t smoke inside. Scaletta says that’s been the policy in Iowa prisons for some time. Anticipating that some offenders wouldn’t take it well, prisons gave up to a year’s warning of the ban. The move was taken for safety reasons but also for health.The state’s smoke-free in all its facilities, and prisons are considered part of that category. Studies have shown a higher rate of smoking among people convicted of crimes, so do offenders complain when they learn they’ll be serving time at a smoke-free prison? He says most don’t like it, but don’t really stay there very long.Though only the Oakdale classification center is completely smoke-free, Scaletta says prisoners don’t seem to miss smoking any more than the other freedoms they lost in prison. He won’t speculate on whether many remain non-smoking once they’ve served their time and go free.
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